If you are convicted for driving under the influence (DUI) in another state, what happens when you get back to Pennsylvania? Will the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) find out and suspend your license? If you’re arrested for a subsequent DUI in Pennsylvania, will it be considered your first or repeat offense? These questions are top of mind when most people from Pennsylvania are pulled over and arrested for drunk driving outside of Pennsylvania.
Each state has its own rules and processes for handling DUI cases. If you’re found guilty of DUI, your license may be suspended, and you could face further penalties. Ultimately, the consequences of an out-of-state DUI depend on a system called the driver’s license compact, or DLC.
What Is the Driver’s License Compact (DLC)?
The DLC is an agreement between 45 states in the U.S. created to promote traffic law compliance and highway safety. The DLC allows member states to exchange information concerning traffic violations and license suspension for non-residents and send them to the states where they are licensed, or their “home states.” While each state has its own rules, the DLC allows drivers’ home states to consider certain out-of-state traffic violations, like a DUI, for example, and suspend their driving privileges accordingly.
What Out-of-State Traffic Violations Does PennDOT Consider?
Pennsylvania’s DLC law under 75 Pa. C.S. § 1581 allows PennDOT only to consider severe traffic violations and will not assess points for minor traffic offenses. Traffic violations that may lead to a one-year license suspension if convicted in another state include:
- Manslaughter resulting from the use of a motor vehicle
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs if the law is significantly similar to Pennsylvania’s DUI laws
- A felony conviction in relation to the use of a motor vehicle
- Failure to stop and render aid when a motor vehicle collision results in personal injury or death
DUI Charges Outside Pennsylvania
If you’re convicted of a DUI in another state, and it’s your first offense, in some cases, your license will not be suspended in Pennsylvania. PennDOT handles out-of-state DUIs the same as though they occurred in Pennsylvania, which does not involve suspension of license for drunk driving charges resulting from general impairment with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 to .099 percent.
However, drivers with an elevated BAC of .10 or higher, when the offense occurs in Pennsylvania, may be subjected to stricter penalties that may include:
- A jail sentence of up to six months
- A 12-month license suspension
- Fines up to $5,000
- Alcohol highway safety school
When an offense like this occurs outside of Pennsylvania, or if it is your second or subsequent DUI conviction, your driver’s license will likely be suspended for a one year or even 18 months. Note that drivers holding commercial driver’s licenses are also subject to harsher penalties, when convicted in Pennsylvania, including fines and potential jail time.
Can I Travel to a Different State and Get a New Driver’s License?
No. Under the DLC, individuals with a suspended driver’s license cannot simply cross state lines and obtain a new one in a different state. Due to the information-sharing agreement under the DLC, member states are notified whenever a resident’s driver’s license becomes suspended. In other words, if your Pennsylvania driver’s license becomes suspended and you travel to Florida to get a new one, the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles will be able to see your license suspension in Pennsylvania and deny your request.
Does Pennsylvania Consider Out-of-State DUIs in the Look-Back Period?
Pennsylvania has a look-back period of ten years when assessing penalties for a second or subsequent DUI. If you receive a second DUI conviction 12 years after your first one, it will be prosecuted as a first offense. Likewise, if you have a DUI conviction in a DLC member state and are later convicted of DUI in Pennsylvania within ten years, it will be charged as a second offense. Following 75 Pa. C.S. § 1581, a conviction from a DLC state will have the same impact as if it happened in Pennsylvania.
Speak to a Skilled DUI Defense Attorney in Southeastern Pennsylvania for Trusted Legal Help
If you’re arrested and charged with a DUI, no matter what state you’re in, the consequences can be severe and potentially impact your future for years to come. Individuals facing DUI charges in Montgomery County and surrounding areas can turn to the skilled DUI defense lawyers at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. For over 65 years, our seasoned attorneys have fought for the rights and freedoms of clients throughout our communities. Our attorneys understand the complex details of Montgomery County DUI laws and will help you navigate each step of the way.
Whether it’s your first offense or you have prior DUI convictions in Pennsylvania or another state, let our experienced DUI defense attorneys advise you on the best way to resolve it with the least impact on your future. Consult Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C.’s skilled DUI attorneys about your situation today over a free consultation by completing a contact form or call 215-822-7575.